Survey: Nearly 20 Percent of Vanderbilt Undergrads Are Victims of Sexual Assault or Misconduct

A survey of Vanderbilt University students found a far higher percentage of sexual assaults than what was reported in the university’s Annual Security Report.

A Vanderbilt University survey showed a discrepancy between the number of students who claimed to have been sexually assaulted and crime statistics in the school’s annual campus security report.

Of the 1,651 students who took the survey, 156 said they had been the victim of sexual assault or misconduct during the 2014-2015 school year, according to The Tennessean.

The survey, written by the Independent Education Advisory Board, was taken in the spring semester of 2015 by both undergraduate and graduate students at the Nashville, Tennessee-based school.

Twenty percent of undergraduate students said they had been the victim of sexual misconduct during the school year.

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Despite the high number of victims in the survey, the school’s annual campus security report, which is required to report crimes on campus under the Clery Act, recorded just 23 sexual assaults in 2014.

The discrepancy could be the result of multiple factors. Studies have shown that many sexual assault victims don’t come forward for a variety of reasons. The campus security report also only includes on-campus crimes that were reported to specific campus authorities.

The survey’s definition of sexual assault also differs from the university security report definition. In the survey, respondents who reported that someone fondled, kissed or rubbed up against them without consent were considered to be the victims of sexual assault. The annual security report has a much tighter definition of sexual assault.

In recent years, Vanderbilt has offered staff members training for handling victims of sexual assault and improved victim resources. Still, a panel of university leaders recommended the school offer more training as a result of the survey results.

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